(TibetanReview.net, Mar12’20) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally uttered the “P” word, calling the Covid-19 epidemic which broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Dec 2019 and spread rapidly both nationally and internationally to become an epidemic due to a repressive government-enforced secrecy a global pandemic.
In the past two weeks, the number of cases of Covid-19 outside China had increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries had tripled. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives, said the WHO Mar 11 afternoon while issuing the long overdue declaration.
“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO.
He has said more than 90 percent of cases were in just four countries, with China and the Republic of Korea reporting significantly declining epidemics. He has added that 81 countries had not reported any cases while 57 had reported 10 cases or less.
He has complained that some countries were struggling with a lack of capacity, some others with a lack of resources and yet some others with a lack of resolve.
He called on all countries to activate and scale up your emergency response mechanisms.
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In India, the government has suspended all tourist visas till Apr 15. “Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian mission,” said a statement released by the Indian government on Mar 11.
The statement said “All existing visas except diplomatic, official, UN/International organizations, employment, project visas – will be suspended till Apr 15. The suspension comes into effect from 1200 GMT on Mar 13, 2020 at the port of departure.
The virus has affected 12 states and Union Territories of India with a total of 73 confirmed cases. Kerala has the highest number at 17, followed by Haryana (14) Maharashtra (11), Uttar Pradesh (11), Delhi (6), Karnataka (4), Ladakh (3), Rajasthan (3), Telangana (1), Tamil Nadu (1), J&K (1), Punjab (1).
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In China, the National Health Commission said Mar 12 that the country had passed the peak of the coronavirus epidemic, reported Reuters Mar 12, citing its spokesperson Mi Feng.
The country reported the lowest ever figures thus far of 15 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths on the mainland on Mar 11.
The number of reported new suspected cases was also lowest ever at 33.
A total of 1,318 were discharged from hospital after recovery on Mar 11, while the number of severe cases decreased by 235 to 4,257, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 12.
The country’s overall confirmed cases on the mainland totaled 80,793 by the end of Mar 11, including 14,831 who were still being treated, 62,793 who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,169 people who had died.
China also reported cumulative imported cases of 85 as of Mar 11, an increase of 6 from the previous day’s number.
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Meanwhile, developments outside China remain grim and continue to worsen, which was why the WHO declared the disease a global pandemic.
The number of confirmed infections outside mainland China totaled 46,111 and the deaths 1,568, according to data compiled by the scmp.com as of Mar 12 at 7:10 PM Hong Kong time.
Italy, the worst affected country outside mainland China, saw another huge daily jump in both confirmed cases and deaths. Its total confirmed cases touched 12,462 and the deaths 827 compared to 10,149 and 631 respectively the day before.
Iran, the second worst affected country outside China, also saw large daily jumps in both confirmed cases and deaths, reaching the totals of 10,075 and 429 respectively.
Meanwhile, South Korea, the third worst affected country outside China, continued to show only marginally increased figures, reaching the totals of 7,869 confirmed cases and 66 deaths, compared to the previous day’s totals of 7,775 infections and 60 deaths.
France saw another relatively large jump in both the figures with a total of 2,281 confirmed cases and 48 deaths, compared to the previous day’s totals of 1,784 and 33 respectively.
Spain’s confirmed cases totaled 2,950 and the deaths 84, compared to the previous day’s totals of 1,622 and 35 respectively.
Other countries and territories with confirmed cases and deaths as of Mar 12 at 7:10 PM Hong Kong time included Germany (1,567, 3), the United States (987, 35), the Diamond Princess cruise ship (696, 7-unchanged), Japan, (620, 15), Switzerland (613, 4), Sweden (461, 1), the United Kingdom (456, 8), the Netherlands (382, 4-unchanged), Belgium (314, 3), Austria (302, 1), Hong Kong (129, 3), Australia (126, 3), Canada (103, 1), Greece (99, 1), Thailand (70, 1), San Marino (66, 3), Iraq (61, 6-unchanged), Lebanon (61, 2), Egypt (59, 1-unchanged), the Philippines (52, 2), Taiwan (49, 1), Poland (47, 1), Indonesia (34, 1), Ireland (34, 1), Algeria (20, 1), Argentina (17, 1), Albania (10, 1), Bulgaria (10, 1), Panama (8, 1), and Morocco (2, 1-unchanged).
Other countries and regions with 10 or more confirmed infections, but no death, as of Mar 12 at 7:10 PM Hong Kong time included Denmark (615), Norway (489), Qatar (262), Bahrain (189-unchanged), Singapore (187), Malaysia (149-unchanged), Israel (100), Kuwait (80), the UAE (74), India (73), Iceland (65), Brazil (52), Portugal (41), the Czech Republic (41), Finland (40), Vietnam (39), Slovenia (31), Occupied Palestinian territory (30), Romania (25), Georgia (23), Costa Rica (22), Grand Princess cruise ship off San Francisco (21-unchanged), Pakistan (20), Russia (20-unchanged), Saudi Arabia (20-unchanged), Oman (18-unchanged), Chile (17), South Africa (17), Croatia (16), Ecuador (15-unchanged), Estonia (13), Hungary (13), Serbia (12), Brunei (11), Peru (11), and Macao (10-unchanged).
The total number of cumulative confirmed cases worldwide was 126,904, and deaths 4,737 (including 80,739 and 3,169 respectively in mainland China) as of Mar 12 at 7:10 PM Hong Kong time. The total number of those who had recovered thus far was 68,087.